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17 October 2005, 09:09 am
BJÖRLING Leads The Way Into Second Stage
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Virtual Spectator ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship 2005
Hamilton, Bermuda

The flat waters and light breeze out on Hamilton Harbour yesterday provided a challenging battleground for the twelve international women sailing teams competing on the second day of the Virtual Spectator ISAF Women's Match Race World Championship. Three-time Worlds runner up Marie BJÖRLING (SWE) and her crew ended the day as clear leaders with a 9-2 scoreline with all the big names coming back strongly to progress to the second stage.
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After the end of the round robin yesterday, the top six skippers progress onto a second round robin stage which will be contested today. BJÖRLING, who races with her team of Annika CARLUNGER, Elisabeth NILSSON and Anna HOLMDAHL, led the way winning all but one of her matches yesterday. She commented, 'We sailed with a lot of discipline and great crew work and today it was very tactical sailing. The upwind work was critical and on the downwind we had to be fast and we were.'

While BJÖRLING has enjoyed a stellar two days of racing, Sally BARKOW (USA), the defending American World Champion climbed back from a mid-fleet position in the heavier winds experienced on Saturday to take fourth place and her spot in the second stage.

'We are pretty happy about our racing and we are going to go at them hard in the next round on Monday,' BARKOW said. 'We are finally getting used to the J/24s class yachts which of course is the beauty of match racing as you have to jump into different boats and get used to them quickly.'

American sailing veteran Betsy ALISON who won all six of her races on Saturday, struggled in the lighter conditions yesterday but is still well placed to make the cut today.

'We lost three matches today because of my poor starts. In this kind of racing it comes down to staying ahead of the competition,' said ALISON who is racing with Nancy HABERLAND, Chafee EMORY and Sandy HAYES. 'We now have to go out and fight hard.'

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Marie BJÖRLING on her way to victory
over Lotte MELDGAARD PEDERSEN
yesterday
© Bob Grieser/PPL

Bermudian sailor Paula LEWIN, the local favorite, completed Sunday's round robin in eighth place after finishing on the wrong side of a three-way tie and misses out on the next round.

'The game really changed today and we many of the women really hit their stride,' LEWIN said. 'It is a huge disappointment for us but this event has really helped develop match racing for women and put Bermuda on the map. It has been a great opportunity for all of us to race at this level and then have a shot against the seeded men for the Gold Cup later this week.'

Number one in the ISAF World Match Race Rankings Claire LEROY (FRA) proved her class yesterday with a terrific comeback to finish the round robin in fifth place and avoid early elimination. She credits her crew work for their performance.

'We mastered the boat today and it was very good for us to be in the top six,' said LEROY. 'Our crew work was fantastic and I think that is what really did it.'

Danish sailor Nina BRAESTRUP, who finished the round robin in third place, has sailed a brilliant regatta over the first two days and the young Australian team skippered by Nicky SOUTER were delighted to progress to the second stage, finishing as one of three teams on a 6-5 record, with the tied broken in their favour over LEWIN and Lotte MELDGAARD PEDERSEN (DEN).

Virtual Spectator ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship Results

Round Robin

Flight 7

Claire LEROY d. Linda RAHM
Marie BJÖRLING d. Lotte MELDGAARD PEDERSEN
Nina BRAESTRUP d. Christelle PHILIPPE
Klaartje ZUIDERBAAN d. Betsy ALISON
Nicky SOUTER d. Jenny AXHEDE
Paula LEWIN d. Sally BARKOW

Flight 8

Claire LEROY d. Lotte MELDGAARD PEDERSEN
Linda RAHM d. Nina BRAESTRUP
Marie BJÖRLING d. Christelle PHILIPPE
Jenny AXHEDE d. Betsy ALISON
Paula LEWIN d. Klaartje ZUIDERBAAN
Sally BARKOW d. Nicky SOUTER

Flight 9

Jenny AXHEDE d. Linda RAHM
Klaartje ZUIDERBAAN d. Christelle PHILIPPE
Sally BARKOW d. Lotte MELDGAARD PEDERSEN
Marie BJÖRLING d. Betsy ALISON
Claire LEROY d. Paula LEWIN
Nina BRAESTRUP d. Nicky SOUTER

Flight 10

Jenny AXHEDE d. Christelle PHILIPPE
Sally BARKOW d. Linda RAHM
Lotte MELDGAARD PEDERSEN d. Klaartje ZUIDERBAAN
Marie BJÖRLING d. Paula LEWIN
Claire LEROY d. Nicky SOUTER
Betsy ALISON d. Nina BRAESTRUP

Flight 11

Sally BARKOW d. Christelle PHILIPPE
Lotte MELDGAARD PEDERSEN d. Jenny AXHEDE
Linda RAHM d. Klaartje ZUIDERBAAN
Paula LEWIN d. Nina BRAESTRUP
Nicky SOUTER d. Marie BJÖRLING
Claire LEROY d. Betsy ALISON

Round Robin Standings
(Top Six Progress To Second Stage Round Robin)

1. Marie BJÖRLING (SWE), 9-2
2. Betsy ALISON (USA), 7-4
3. Nina BRAESTRUP (DEN), 7-4
4. Sally BARKOW (USA), 7-4
5. Claire LEROY (FRA), 7-4
6. Nicky SOUTER (AUS), 6-5
7. Lotte MELDGAARD PEDERSEN (DEN), 6-5
8. Paula LEWIN (BER), 6-5
9. Klaartje ZUIDERBAAN (NED), 4-7
10. Jenny AXHEDE (SWE), 4-7
11. Linda RAHM (SWE), 2-9
12. Christelle PHILIPPE (FRA), 1-10

For a complete list of all the news about the Virtual Spectator ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship CLICK HERE.

Talbot Wilson. Image, Claire LEROY fought back brilliantly yesterday to move through to the second round robin:© Charles Anderson/PPL
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